• 7.8/10
    ALCATRAZZ - V - 7.8/10


Silver Lining Music
Release date: October 15, 2021

[spoiler title=’Metal Express Radio – Ratings Scale’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]

10.0:         Cannot be improved! Perfect, instant classic! Essential in any record collection.
9.5 – 9.9:  Fantastic, spectacular and outstanding!
9.0 – 9.4:  Amazing release! It just lacks that little extra spice to make it perfect.
8.5 – 8.9:  Exceptional release! Will likely rank among top ten albums of the year.
8.0 – 8.4:  Great release! It has many different qualities.
7.5 – 7.9:  Above average! It is an enjoyable release.
7.0 – 7.4:  It is not brilliant, but has many strong points.
6.0 – 6.9:  It has its moments, but is not that strong.
5.0 – 5.9:  Slightly above average, does not stand out. Good outweighs bad by just a little.
4.0 – 4.9:  Just below average, bad outweighs good by just a little.
3.0 – 3.9:  Mediocre. There might be a song or a performance that is enjoyable, but that is it.
2.0 – 2.9:  Very weak! There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, too many flaws.
1.0 – 1.9:  This release gives the word “terrible” new meaning.
0.1 – 0.9:  Awful! Avoid at all cost. There is nothing good to say about this release.


User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Backstory

Alcatrazz was born in 1983 and can boast they introduced guitarists Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai to the world. Fronted by vocalist Graham Bonnet, Alcatrazz released three studio albums before disbanding in 1987. Alcatrazz was reactivated several times by Graham Bonnet for live performances from time to time, but it wasn’t until 2020 that original members Jimmy Waldo, Gary Shea, and Bonnet reunited for their first new music in 34 years.

That album was Born Innocent. Guitarist Joe Stump was brought into the fold as a permanent member. Shortly after its release, Bonnet left the group. Scottish vocalist Doogie White (Rainbow, Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, Yngwie Malmsteen), was recruited for Alcatrazz’s 5th studio album V.

[Check out our interviews with Jimmy Waldo (2021), Doogie White (2021), Jimmy Waldo (2020)]

The Album

“Guardian Angel” puts the pedal to the metal and doesn’t let up. Each member of Alcatrazz gets their moment to show you what they bring to the table on this track. Joe Stump brings his neo-classical guitar sound to the forefront on “Nightwatch.” War has been declared on “Sword of Deliverance.” Doogie White hits the highs and the lows vocally, while Jimmy Waldo’s pulsing Hammond-style keyboard tones drive the music. Stump is front and center once again on “Blackheart” with his hot licks and fiery guitar solo.

Speed is the name of the game on “Grace of God.” Drummer Mark Benquechea is lock step with Gary Shea’s bass grooves and Stump’s runs up and down the fretboard. Alcatrazz keeps the fervent pace going on “Target,” accented by Waldo’s warbling key tones. “Maybe Tomorrow” is about mankind destroying the Earth and is more somber than the tracks that proceeded it. “House of Lies” is a straight up rocker that brings White’s vocals to the forefront. Stump is quite subdued here. There’s no time for a introduction on “Alice’s Eyes.”

The Verdict

V is a great reflection of the early years of Alcatrazz with its eccentric guitar and keyboard work. Doogie White is a more than capable replacement for the departed Graham Bonnet, but you may not think Alcatrazz when you hear this version of the band. Perhaps the group had to keep the Alcatrazz name for contractual purposes, but this is clearly a new group of musicians that could stand on its own without the name associated most with their former vocalist. Joe Stump featuring Doogie White is probably more appropriate.


  1. Guardian Angel
  2. Nightwatch
  3. Sword of Deliverance
  4. Turn of the Whel
  5. Blackheart
  6. Grace of God
  7. Return of NEvermore
  8. Target
  9. Maybe Tomorrow
  10. House of Lies
  11. Alice’s Eyes
  12. Dark Day For My Soul

Alcatrazz is:

Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Gary Shea – Bass
Doogie White – Vocals
Joe Stump – Guitar
Mark Benquechea – Drums


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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